A petitioner B Ramkumar Adityan has approached the Madras High Court with a writ petition directing the Civil Aviation Secretary and the Director-General of Civil Aviation (respondents) to ensure that announcement of ‘in flight’ safety announcements on flights should also be made in the language of the departure and that of the destination stations - other than English and Hindi.
The petitioner also wanted 'in flight' safety instruction card to be provided for passengers within aircraft in languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, namely Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam Manipuri, Marathi, Maithili, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
The petitioner perceives that in the absence of the safety announcement - on instructions like wearing seat belts, emergency exits, oxygen masks and life vests - being made in the local languages of such two stations, a large number of flight passengers are unable to follow the instructions and may not be able to take appropriate steps in case of any emergency.
In an order on the writ petition, Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee said that the petitioner is left free to address the Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation with a detailed representation. It is for the Ministry to consider whether it is appropriate to issue guidelines or instructions to airline operators.
If the petitioner makes a representation to the Civil Aviation Secretary within the next four weeks, the Secretary should furnish a reasoned reply to the petitioner within eight weeks of the receipt thereof.
The writ petition is disposed of without any order as to costs, the order said.